Without a shadow of a doubt, things just haven’t quite been the same for Hector Bellerin at Arsenal since his knee injury last year.
The Spaniard spent many months on the sidelines after being stretchered off against Chelsea back in January 2019, but returned to action at the beginning of the 2019/20 season.
A hamstring problem just before the enforced break means the 25-year-old has been limited to just 21 appearances in all competitions, with 13 of those coming in the Premier League.
When Bellerin has been fit to play though, he has tended to go straight into the starting XI no questions asked.
It can be argued that the former Barcelona youth product has been unable to recapture the form that previously made him one of the standout full-backs in the Premier League.
The couple of injuries he’s had appear to have knocked the £110,000-a-week star (Spotrac) out of his stride, but the lack of competition at the Emirates has seen him be able to retain his place – but things could be about to change.
TBR View – Cedric upturn to prompt Bellerin renaissance?
It’s been a strong week for Cedric Soares.
The 33-cap Portugal international finally debuted for the Gunners against Norwich City on Wednesday after signing for the club on loan back in January.
Mikel Arteta then handed him a start against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, and he was particularly impressive at Molineux in both defensive and offensive capacities.
Eyebrows were raised at the January deal, and there was further surprise at that being turned permanent.
But it’s been an encouraging start for the ex-Southampton man, and his form could well be a much-needed catalyst for Bellerin.
Fans were excited by Soares’ showing yesterday, and the potential competition is surely welcome news for Arteta.